Universities told to teach about colonialism and white supremacy – even in computing courses

University lecture theatre - KrasiKanchev / Alamy Stock Photo
University lecture theatre – KrasiKanchev / Alamy Stock Photo

Universities have been told to teach about “colonialism”, “white supremacy” and “class division” by the body that advises on degree content.

The Quality Assurance Agency, which advises universities on course standards, has introduced advice for the first time on decolonising courses from computing to classics.

In one example, the QAA has told universities that computing courses should address “how divisions and hierarchies of colonial value are replicated and reinforced” within the subject.

Geography courses should acknowledge “racism, classism, ableism, homophobia and patriarchy,” further guidance states.

Meanwhile, the QAA says that maths curriculums “should present a multicultural and decolonised view of mathematics, statistics and operational research, informed by the student voice” and Economics students should be taught that it is “still predominantly a white, male and Western field.”

The authority advises that classics and ancient history courses must engage with and explain the connections between the subject and “imperialism, colonialism, white supremacy and class division”.

The guidance included in 25 subject “benchmarks” was first reported by the Daily Mail.

Campuses being ‘ordered to go woke’

Chris McGovern, of the Campaign for Real Education, said: “It’s alarming. Campuses are being ordered to go woke.

“This QAA enforcement of anti-white and anti-Western racial hatred and division is iniquitous.

“It will undermine racial integration in our country and breed either resentment or self-loathing.”

The QAA describes itself as an independent body “trusted by higher education providers and regulatory bodies to maintain and enhance quality and standards.”

It receives membership fees from more than 300 UK universities and higher education providers which use it to provide advice on courses.

A spokesman for the QAA told the Daily Mail: “Subject benchmark statements do not mandate set approaches to teaching, learning or assessment.

“They are created by the subject communities for the subject communities, to be used as a tool for reflection when designing new courses or updating existing courses.

“It’s up to the individual academics and their departments whether or how closely they follow this guidance.

“The subject benchmark statement activity sits within QAA’s role as a membership organisation and is separate from our role as designated quality body.”

Watchdog warns it ‘can and will intervene’

Susan Lapworth, the chief executive of the Office for Students, the higher education watchdog, said: “The OfS sets requirements for the quality of universities’ courses in England and decides if those requirements are met.

“All decisions about the quality of higher education courses are made by the OfS and not the QAA.

“The OfS does not expect universities to follow the QAA’s benchmark statements and we do not endorse or support the content of those documents.

“Should a university regulated by the OfS choose to use these documents it must ensure that it continues to meet the OfS’s requirements for course quality, freedom of speech and academic freedom.

“Where we have concerns that these requirements are not being met, we can and will intervene.”

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